Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 373
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul takes refuge in you;
In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the storm of destruction has passed by.
I will call upon the Most High God, the God who fulfils his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me and rebuke those that would trample upon me;
God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.
I lie in the midst of lions, people whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory over all the earth.
They have laid a net for my feet; my soul is pressed down;
they have dug a pit before me and will fall into it themselves.
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready;
I will sing and give you praise.
Awake, my soul; awake, harp and lyre, that I may awaken the dawn.
I will give you thanks, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praise to you among the nations.
For your loving-kindness is as high as the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and your glory over all the earth.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all you his angels;
praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you stars of light.
Praise him, heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;
for he commanded and they were created.
He made them fast for ever and ever;
he gave them a law which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and mist,
tempestuous wind, fulfilling his word;
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
Wild beasts and all cattle,
creeping things and birds on the wing;
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the world;
Young men and women, old and young together;
let them praise the name of the Lord.
For his name only is exalted,
his splendour above earth and heaven.
He has raised up the horn of his people and praise for all his faithful servants,
the children of Israel, a people who are near him.
When the Lord your God has cut off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their towns and in their houses, you shall set apart three cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. You shall calculate the distances and divide into three regions the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any homicide can flee to one of them.
Now this is the case of a homicide who might flee there and live, that is, someone who has killed another person unintentionally when the two had not been at enmity before: Suppose someone goes into the forest with another to cut wood, and when one of them swings the axe to cut down a tree, the head slips from the handle and strikes the other person who then dies; the killer may flee to one of these cities and live. But if the distance is too great, the avenger of blood in hot anger might pursue and overtake and put the killer to death, although a death sentence was not deserved, since the two had not been at enmity before. Therefore I command you: You shall set apart three cities.
If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors—and he will give you all the land that he promised your ancestors to give you, provided you diligently observe this entire commandment that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God and walking always in his ways—then you shall add three more cities to these three, so that the blood of an innocent person may not be shed in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, thereby bringing blood-guilt upon you.
But if someone at enmity with another lies in wait and attacks and takes the life of that person, and flees into one of these cities, then the elders of the killer’s city shall send to have the culprit taken from there and handed over to the avenger of blood to be put to death. Show no pity; you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you.
You must not move your neighbour’s boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
A single witness shall not suffice to convict a person of any crime or wrongdoing in connection with any offence that may be committed. Only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be sustained. If a malicious witness comes forward to accuse someone of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days, and the judges shall make a thorough inquiry. If the witness is a false witness, having testified falsely against another, then you shall do to the false witness just as the false witness had meant to do to the other. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. The rest shall hear and be afraid, and a crime such as this shall never again be committed among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
1 Peter 2.11-end
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honourably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honourable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge.
For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honour everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honour the emperor.
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
‘He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
whose servant Athanasius testified
to the mystery of the Word made flesh for our salvation:
help us, with all your saints,
to contend for the truth
and to grow into the likeness of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.